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(1863) Battle of Gettysburg
Author
Message
Larry Purtell
Little Meadows
PA USA
Posts: 879

Vermont wounded soldiers
Posted on: 8/13/2019 6:42:10 AM



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"My goal is to live forever. So far, so good.
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4104

Vermont wounded soldiers
Posted on: 8/13/2019 12:09:26 PM

Larry,

This one troubles me , because I find it rather difficult to understand.

Has the Commissioner been thwarted by Federal authorities, while his counterparts from other states have eluded the red tape ?

The prose are difficult to understand : or am I thick ?☹️

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Jim Cameron
North Bellmore
NY USA
Posts: 864

Vermont wounded soldiers
Posted on: 8/27/2019 8:54:31 PM

A letter from Royal D. King of the 14th Vermont to his sister. King's company had been left to guard the division hospital.

Near Gettysburg Pennsylvania
July 9th 1863. Thursday

Dear Sister -

I don't hear anything from you or any one else but I am going to keep writing just the same - I have not rec'd a letter from any source since about the middle of June. I tho't is strange that I did not hear anything from home, for some time before we left the sh oals. I have written twice since we left there. Perhaps you rec'd the letters. I don't expect to receive any more mail matter til we rejoin our regiment. Our Company is left here as guard for the division Hospital. We left the Reg't the 5th & have heard nothing from it. I suppose it is at Frederick M.D. Frederick is about 30 miles from here. Our mail I presume has been sent there, but we shall not get it till we start for home. 11 days after to day will bring the 21st of July. the 13ths time is out tomorrow. There was a co of that Reg't sent here at the same time we were - They have started to rejoin their Reg't to day. I presume we shall be ordered back next week - I have not told you yet where we are. We are between 3 & 4 miles south east from the Battle Field - on the Baltimore turnpike. The whole country for 10 miles is one vast Hospital. Every barn & almost every house has been appropriated for hospital purposes. The wounded suffer greatly from want of proper care. Many die, who if they had properly cared [for] would have recovered. Ours is only a Division Hospital & there are 500 in it. Dr. woodward is the principal surgeon. He does all he can & as well as he can, but that is but little compared to the care that most would get at home. They are sending the wounded off to Baltimore, Philadelphia, & Washington as fast as possible. We have to stand guard six hours of the 24. That is light duty compared with anything we have had before since we left the shoals. It is hard work tho for us to do that. No one except ourselves can form any idea of how tired we were when we got here. The truth is we were completely fagged out. After marching seven days, from 20 to 25 miles each day, & lying one whole day exposed to the heat of a broiling sun, & the most terrific cannonading ever known, it [is] wonderful that so many are alive & as well as we are. The Rebs supposed they had annihilated the 2nd Vt brigade - for they didn't suppose men could possibly live exposed to the fire that we were. They call us "fighting devils." Some of the old Reg'ts say they never saw men stand fire as we did, & the old Regts never could have been made to do it. We did something toward gaining the victory at Gettysburg. I [am] glad that I was there, & would willingly go thro all I have again if it would be the means of ending this inhuman war. I am proud of the "Flying Brigade," & I never before was so proud of being a Vermonter. We have not disgraced the Green Mountain State, & tho others may have done as well, I know of none who have done better. It is true we are weary & exhausted, but what of that, if we have been the means of crushing rebellion & treason. Those of us who get home will come with different looks feelings from those we left. Our experiences will have taught us many things that we never would have learned without. No money could buy mine - I would not part with them on any account.

Saturday July 11th 1863 - You see it takes some time to write a letter here. I commenced this two or three days ago & have not had a chance to finish it yet. We are still at the Division Hospital but shall probably be sent away somewhere by the middle of next week. We have heard nothing from our Reg't since we left it & don't know where it is or what it has been doing. We have rec'd no mail since leaving the shoals, & probably shall not now 'till we [get] back to the Reg't. I expect that when we leave here we shall go to Baltimore & from there home. We can't get so much as a newspaper here, & know no more about what the Army has done since it left here, than the man in the moon. They are sending off the wounded as fast as possible. The greater part of them are gone & as soon as the rest are sent, we shall leave here. They send them to Baltimore first & from [there] scatter them about among the different Hospitals. Sam left yesterday with the other cripples. he is doing well & will be able to go home when the rest of us go. He lost his knapsack & blanket - so I went on the battlefield yesterday & got a wollen & Rubber & knapsack for him & a wollen & a knapsack for myself. I threw away my knapsack the day before the big fight. My wool blanket I left at union mills. I am fitted up again for another march. The battlefield still shows the traces of the fierce strife waged upon it. The dead were not all buried, yesterday, they said, & hundreds of dead horses lie scattered about producing an intolerable stench. I went into the town or city of Gettysburg. It is quite a pleasant place, larger than Castleton & not as large as Rutland. About every hous I saw has bullet marks on it. We heard here last that lee had surrendered with his whole army - I don't credit the story. You at home know more about it than we do. If you have got a paper that has an account of the battle of Gettysburg in it, I wish you wo'd keep it till I get home as I have not seen anything of the kind. Mr Smart has gone with the Reg't. He was well when he left here. Proctor & Steve are with the Reg't. neither of them went into the fight - I was weighed yesterday & bro't down to 128 lbs. I am well as usual. I [can't] write any more now. It will not be of any use to write to me as I probably shall not get it if you do Yours

R D King
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Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.
Phil Andrade
London
 UK
Posts: 4104

Vermont wounded soldiers
Posted on: 8/28/2019 7:49:23 AM

Jim,

What a remarkable letter !

Upbeat and bursting with pride.

Testimony to the horrors of war , but not allowing the trauma to suppress the sense of triumph.

Not for this warrior the lamentation of PTSD : although he emphasises how the experience differentiates those who undergo it from those who haven’t.

Regards, Phil
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"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!" "That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress." Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes
Jim Cameron
North Bellmore
NY USA
Posts: 864

Vermont wounded soldiers
Posted on: 8/28/2019 11:25:36 AM

The upbeat note probably reflects the fact the 14th Vermont was a "nine month regiment" and due to be mustered out within a week or so. It had spent most of its term of service in the defenses of Washington, and was only attached to the AOP as it moved north in pursuit of Lee's army. Gettysburg was its only battle. The rifle King carried at Gettysburg is in my collection.

Here's another of King's letters, written from Wolf Run Shoals on the Occoquan river south of Washington, just prior to the regiment being attached to the AOP.

Wolf Run Shoals VA

June 16th 1863

Dear Sister -

We have been having lively times here for a day or two & I will write to you something about matters here. I told you in my last that there was movement of the army of the Potomac, rearward. It commenced passing here sunday a little before sundown. there has been a constant stream of trains & troops going toward the Court House and Station ever since. They, the trains, move all night. It is said the train would reach sixty five miles on the road. I should [think] it would myself. Three army corps have crossed at this Ford: the 12th yesterday, the 6th this afternoon - & the 2nd is crossing tonight. The 1st Vt Brigade is in the 6th Corps - They halted here 3 or 4 hours - I saw those in it from Benson. There was a sort of general visitation, carried on between that brigade & this Reg't this afternoon. The roads are very dusty & they are completely covered with it. I[t] seemed to do them good to, rest & wash off some of the dirt. Besides they were glad to see us if we are nine months men. Many of...the men dies on the march form Falmouth here, from sunstroke. The Vt Reg'ts lost 7 from that cause. It is a forced march & they hurried them forward, as rapidly as possible. The Vermonters looked the best & seemed least fagged out of any troops I have seen. I can't tell the exact number, but thousands, both of teams & men have passed here since Sumday nightm & it is now Tuesday night - I saw henry Dedrick and Wrangham yesterday - They were both well. They are in the 12th, slocum's corps. I never knew before, what it was to move a large army, not the cost of it. If the folks in Benson could see what we have seen for two days past they would not wonder at the slowness of the movements of thearmy. I presume you have heard of Lee's movement into Maryland Penn, This movement of Hooker is caused by Lee's movement. We do not know what they will think of doing with us. perhaps we shall stay here to keep up the picket line. I expect to go out tomorrow, We didn't think a week ago that Joe Hooker wo'd fall back behing the 14th Vt. for safety. We are on the front now. I presume Hooker intends to cross into Maryland to head off lee. I should think from the papers today that [the] North was pretty thoroughly wroused. I think we shall remain here a while longer now. I am too sleepy to write more to night

Yours

R.D. King
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Jim Cameron Every time I go to Gettysburg, I learn two things. Something new, and, how much I still don't know.

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